CHAPMANVILLE — The Chapmanville Regional High School tennis team will be well represented at this weekend’s state tournament.
CRHS sophomore and No. 1 seed Austin Hanshaw will be making his first appearance in the state tournament as will senior and No. 2 seed Colton Townsend.
On the girls’ side, 2014 state champions and juniors Cassidy Lewis, Myla Bryant and Sara Lambert will all be vying for a second state crown, as they all will be making their second appearance in the state tournament.
Lewis will compete for Chapmanville in No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles, while Bryant will be fighting her way through the No. 2 singles draw and No. 2 doubles draw.
Lewis and Bryant are two of only five Chapmanville girls to ever qualify for singles and doubles in the same season. Lambert, who won the state tournament in doubles with Bryant as her partner two years ago, will join her once again, this time in the No. 2 doubles position.
Also making her first state tournament appearance is sophomore Savannah Toney, who qualified with Lewis in the No. 1 doubles position.
CRHS assistant coach Geoff Saunders said both the boys and girls competed well at last weekend’s Class AA-A regional meet.
“It is very hard to play that much and that late and sit around in a crowded indoor facility and then turn around and play again early the next morning,” he said. “I thought our kids did a great job preparing for this week, and to qualify six and nearly several others out of this region where all of the private schools including a great team like Williamstown is in is tremendous. I’m very proud of them.”
In match play at the regionals, Hanshaw was able to qualify in No. 1 singles by defeating Nathan Porter of Huntington St. Joe 8-0, and then in the third place match, had his fourth encounter of the season with Blake Chambers of Scott, a state quarterfinalist last year in singles and a state finalist in doubles two years ago.
Chambers won two of the three meetings during the season, including an 8-5 win in the Cardinal Conference finals two weeks ago.
Hanshaw raced out to a 5-0 lead before Chambers came storming back to tie the match at 6-6, but Hanshaw was able to weather the storm, and defeat Chambers 8-6, as both will be in the singles draw in Charleston this week.
In No. 2 singles, Townsend knocked out Ryan Coplin of Huntington St. Joe 8-2, and then faced Eric Constant of Scott for the right to go to the state tournament. Townsend defeated Constant 8-1 in the Cardinal Conference finals, but Constant held a 4-3 lead midway through the match before Townsend reeled off five straight games to take the match 8-4, and move on to the state tournament.
In No. 3 singles, Tigers’ junior Brycen Kuenzel eliminated Sissonville’s Justin Tipton 8-1 in the quarterfinals, but came up one match shy of the state tournament, as he was beaten in the semifinals by Parkersburg Catholic’s Brenden Smith.
In No. 4 singles, senior Cody Saunders reached the semis after defeating Poca’s Issac Peters 8-0, but then fell in the semifinals to Parkersburg Catholic’s Mitchell Clowes.
In doubles, the No. 1 team of Hanshaw and Townsend and No. 2 team of Kuenzel and Saunders all came up one match win shy of a trip to Charleston, as Hanshaw and Townsend were defeated by Scott’s Chambers and Constant, while Kuenzel and Saunders came up short against Smith and Clowes of Parkersburg Catholic.
In the No. 3 doubles draw, seniors Kevin Hoops and Austin Evans reached the semifinals as well before going down to Parkersburg Catholic, as the team of Christian Tallman and Austin Sweeney were able to move on to the finals.
In girls’ singles, No. 1 seed Lewis won her opening match against Poca’s Bry Herdman 8-0 to reach the state tournament, and then in the third place match, was able to take out Ali Hoffman in a tremendous performance 8-3.
In the No. 2 draw, Bryant reached the semifinals by knocking out Lexi Trammell of Scott 8-0, and then earned her way back to the state tournament by winning 8-2 over Williamstown’s India Flores.
In No. 3 singles, Toney stormed past Tabitha Blake of Scott 8-0, but in the semifinals ran into last year’s state champion Alyse Lewis of Huntington St. Joe, who eliminated Toney just one match shy of the state tournament.
In the No. 4 singles position, sophomore Ciera Stowers moved into the semifinals after beating Williamstown’s Aaliyall Enoch 8-2, but then lost a hard fought semifinal to Huntington St. Joe’s Lannie Blatt to eliminate Stowers.
In doubles, the No. 1 team of Lewis and Toney got past Scott’s Brooklyn Pridemore and Blake 8-1 in the quarterfinals, and then upended the upset minded Sissonville Indian team of Katie McClung and Bethanie Whittington 8-0 to move into the state tournament.
In No. 2 doubles, Bryant and Lambert were victorious over Poca’s Aryanna Woodall and Teri Broughman 8-1, and then, after losing to St. Joe last season one match short of going back to the state tournament, Bryant and Lambert got their revenge by blasting past the St. Joe team of Blatt and Tatianna Schrader 8-3 to return to Charleston.
In No. 3 doubles, the Lady Tigers team of Stowers and junior Samantha Williams fought valiantly to defend their regional crown from a year ago as they defeated Scott’s Tori Smoot and Caitlyn Berry in the quarterfinals 8-2, then knocked out Siara Deem and Iram Kingson of Williamstown 8-3 in the semis.
In the finals, Stowers and Williams fought back from an early 3-0 deficit, but came up just shy of their second regional crown, as they fell to Charleston Catholic’s Catherine Herlihy and Reagan Palmer 8-5.
Chapmanville assistant coach and CMS tennis head coach Chris Kidd said the team has fought through a lot of injuries and adversity this season.
“Anyone that says that tennis isn’t a tough sport doesn’t know what they’re talking about,” he said. “This is one of the most taxing things you can put your body through and these kids played more matches this year than any team I’ve ever played or coached on. Everyone dealt with so many injuries this year and refused to make excuses. They just taped it up, put a brace on it and would not take time off. They wanted to play. What Ciera (Stowers) and Sammy (Williams) were almost able to do was incredible. Sammy tore up her shoulder midway through the year and was on crutches for a while because of her ankle as well and kept battling through, and Ciera had two bad knees and ankle problems all year that hurt her movement, and they still took the best team in the region down to the wire.”
Kidd said it’s been a fantastic season.
“The grit of this group is something I’ll never forget,” he said. “And to make the semifinals or better in each draw against all these state champion teams just speaks to how far this program and tennis has come in Chapmanville. I’m so proud and happy for all of them. They all had tremendous seasons. One of the best groups of kids anyone could ever hope to coach.”
The state tournament gets under way Thursday morning at 8 a.m. at the Schoenbaum Tennis Courts in Charleston and will run through the championship matches on Saturday.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).